Mikhail Antipov

Year: Graduate, M.B.A.
Title: Grandmaster
Rating: 2607
Country: Russia

  • 1st place First Saturday GM tournament, 2012
  • Shared 1-3 places in Sarajevo Open, 2012
  • 3rd place Riga Tech University Open, 2013
  • World junior champion, 2015
  • 3rd place in Rilton Cup, 2017
  • 1st place in Biel International Chess Festival Rapid event, 2018 & 2019
  • 2nd place in Longtou Cup, Belt and Road Chess Open, 2018
  • 1st place in Netanya International Chess Festival, 2019
  • 1st place in Moscow Chess Championship, 2020

From Moscow, Mikhail Antipov is majoring in economics. He learned to play chess when he was just 6 years old and began playing professionally at the age of 10. During the early stages of his career, Mikhail started working with Sergey Dolmatov, the famous Russian Grandmaster who coached the likes of Kasparov and Kramnik, among others. His favorite chess memories are rooted in the emotions he gets from winning a game.

“I want to discover something new about myself, that's why I decided to study in Mizzou. I don't know what will happen after graduation, but before then I am fully focused on both study and chess.”

Mikhail Antipov

Luka Budisavljević

Year: Sophomore
Title: Grandmaster
Country: Serbia


  • Gold medal at European Team U14 Championship Rapid, 2015
  • Silver medal Individual European Youth Rapid Championship Open Under 18, 2021
  • Silver medal Team European Youth Rapid Championship Open Under 18, 2021 on the first board for Serbian Team
  • Youngest Serbian Grandmaster ever
  • Tied for first place and won Bronze medal at the World Junior Chess Championship, held in Mexico, 2023.

Born and raised in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, Budisavljevic fulfilled all the requirements for achieving the Grandmaster title in 2020, at the age of 16, becoming the first Serbian who managed to get it before 17th birthday. At the same time, Luka managed to become the valedictorian, both in primary and high school, after which he joined Mizzou in August 2022.

"I decided to join Mizzou in order to continue my academic and chess journey at the place that will help me fulfill my full potential. I'm grateful to coach Chirila for providing me with this opportunity to be in such a productive environment which will help me improve in all fields."

Luka Budisavljević photo

Dora Derakshani

Year: Professional two-year medicine
Title: International Master
Rating: 2268
Country: United States

I graduated Summa Cum Laude from SLU where I completed my Bachelor of Science degrees in biology, health sciences and health care ethics. Receiving a chess scholarship from coach Chirila was an incredible opportunity that allowed me to continue my chess career, while also being able to pursue my academic career as a Med School student at Mizzou !

Dorsa Derakhshani photo

Beloslava (Bela) Krasteva

Year: Freshman
Title: Woman Grandmaster
Rating: 2350
Country: Bulgaria

Bela is originally from Bulgaria and joined the Mizzou chess program during the fall ’23 semester. Her peak rating was 2350 and she became a Woman Grand Master at the age of 18. She is a double medalist at the European youth chess championships in 2017 and 2018. In 2020 she became the Bulgarian national champion. After joining the MU chess program, Bela realized some of her biggest accomplishments of her young career: Bronze medal at the World Junior chess championship (shared 1st) and a gold medal with the Bulgarian team on the European women's team chess championship.

Beloslava (Bela) Krasteva photo

Grigory Oparin

Year: Graduate, Economics, M.A. 
Title: Grandmaster
Rating: 2667
Country: Russia

  • Russian Champion in the Under 8 age category
  • Champion, 2016, and medalist, 2018, of the Russian Higher League Championship
  • Winner of the Nutcracker chess tournament, 2016
  • Participant of the Kortchnoi Zurich Chess Challenge Invitational super tournament, 2017
  • Multiple winner and medalist of the Russian, European, and World Youth Chess Championships
  • Medalist of the World Youth Chess Olympiad
  • Qualified to the Chess World Cup, 2019

Born in Munich and raised in Moscow, Grigoriy joined the Mizzou Chess team in the fall 2019 semester. He was recruited by Coach Chirila during his last semester as an undergraduate from Russian State University. He began playing chess at a young age and ignited his desire to improve after winning his first national championship in the under 8 age section. He has completed a graduate degree in Romance Languages with emphasis in Spanish and a minor in Linguistics, and is completing his second degree at Mizzou, an economics M.A.  He is currently in the top 100 players in the world, and his next goal is to reach the top 50.

“In chess, everything depends only on yourself, and this gives me motivation to work and improve.”

Grigory Oparin

Harshit Raja

Year: Senior
Title: Grandmaster
Rating: 2509
Country: India

  • Silver medals in the under 13 age section at the Indian Championship
  • Bronze in Asian youth Under 14 Rapid Championship
  • State Champion

From Pune, India, Harshit Raja began playing chess because of his sister, who later stopped. Harshit’s favorite chess related memory is beating one of the top young prodigies, Parham Maghsoodlo, at the Sitges International Festival in 2019, where he also completed his newest Grandmaster norm. This is his highest rated victory to date. His major is in business. He plans on getting his MBA after graduation and decided to come to Mizzou, motivated by the new project coach Chirila put in place.

Harshit Raja

Irina Utyatskaya

Year: Graduate, Finance, M.A.
Title: Woman International Master
Rating: 2086
Country: Russia

  • 1st place at the European School Chess Championship – Girls U17, 2013
  • 1st place in Aeroflot Open «С», 2015
  • 1st place in Moscow Girl Championship U 19 (classic & rapid), 2015 
  • 5th place in Moscow Open Women, 2016 
  • 1st place in Stage Cup of Russia Women Satkinskaya Autumn Invitational, 2016  
  • 2nd place in Moscow Women Championship, 2019

From Moscow, Irina Utiatskaja is majoring in biological engineering. She has been playing chess since she was 13 years old. She enjoys long games that include deep positional ideas, maneuvering and finish with beautiful tactical strikes.

“Going to Mizzou is the perfect opportunity to improve my chess skills, while pursuing a world class education in the process.”

Irina Utyatskaya